On July 14, the U.S. Department of State announced plans to reopen consular posts for routine visa services. DOS indicates that consulates will reopen on a phased post-by-post basis, depending on local conditions concerning COVID-19. DOS did not provide any timeline for reopening specific consulates but recommended that stakeholders consult embassy and consular websites for guidance on the status of services.
DOS had suspended normal consular services at all posts worldwide in March 2020 amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Nonimmigrant and immigrant visa services will continue to operate on an emergency basis at most consulates, and it is unclear when posts will return to normal processing levels. DOS has emphasized that U.S. citizen services will be prioritized at all consular posts.
Several consular posts have already begun accepting routine visa appointments, though users report that many such appointments have been cancelled or rescheduled. Foreign nationals requiring visa services should expect variation in appointment availability across posts. Those in need of emergency appointments, or exemptions under a presidential proclamation, should make such requests through the expedited process of the consulate’s appointment system, or contact the consular section by email.
Visa issuance and travel restrictions continue to create complications for those attempting to enter the U.S. For more information, please contact us or your regular Parker Poe contact.